The book is about a disgraced financial journalist named Mikael Blomkvist who has been convicted of libel for a story he published about a Swedish businessman. Through the press coverage of the trial, industrialist Henrik Vanger finds Blomkvist and hires him to write his family's story and hopefully solve the mysterious disappearance of his niece, Harriet Vanger. Blomkvist does exhaustive research into the Vanger family over the course of a year and even picks up a research assistant along the way. The twists and turns the story takes made for a really good read. I was never bored! However, this book was chosen for an online book club that I am participating in, and one of the readers found the book laborious and difficult to follow. It is true that there are a ridiculous number of Vangers in the book (since Blomkvist is researching the family history, he pretty much touches on every one for the last 100 years it seems like) and the back story takes quite awhile to get through. My copy was almost 600 pages and the exciting part starts around pages 200-250. I didn't find any of it boring. During the back story, Lisbeth Salander (who is the girl with the dragon tattoo) has her own story that I felt was equally interesting if not more at times.
I cannot wait to pick up a copy of The Girl Who Played with Fire and continue reading the series. I will most likely wait until it comes out in paperback just to keep my series consistent (my copy of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is paperback). My only regret in this series is the Stieg Larsson died in 2004 at the age of 50. According to Wikipedia, his plans were to write ten books in the Millenium series, but only three were finished and a fourth manuscript was left unfinished. Synopses were written for the fifth and sixth books of the series. I would have enjoyed reading all of the novels, and I'm excited that there are three that are or will be available soon.